Pollution May Age Brain
Here's another warning about the damage done by air pollution: A new study published in The Annals of Neurology concludes that it may speed up aging of the brain.
Researchers at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California analyzed 1,403 women without dementia from 1996 to 1998. MRI brain scans were used in 2005 and 2006 to measure the brain volume of the women once they were 71 to 89 years old.
The participants’ exposure to air pollution was estimated by using residential histories and air pollution data from 1999 to 2006. The data was recorded at monitoring sites based on tiny particle matter (PM 2.5) that can penetrate the lungs.
Data found that for each increase of 3.49 micrograms per cubic centimeter of exposure to pollutants, the study participants had a 6.23 cubic centimeter decrease in the white matter of their brains. That's equivalent to one to two years of brain aging.
The link between air pollution and white matter loss remained even after the researchers adjusted for many variables, such as physical activity and education.